OneDnD What form might subclasses take in 1DnD? (+)

SakanaSensei

Adventurer
So far, I’m quite looking forward to the upcoming playtest material! However, rather than going into the weeds for the 78th time on ASIs and the like, I’d like to see what people think they may do with subclasses.

One of the things I most like about 5E as it stands at the moment is the massive amount of very evocative 3PP player options. Mage Hand Press’ Celestial Lancer fighter bringing Final Fantasy dragoons to the game, MCDM’s the The Horned One warlock letting casters shoot with a bow, the Griffin’s Saddlebag’s wand slinger… these are all super neat.

I also think that it would be fantastic if 1DnD rearranges when characters get subclasses, along with how impactful subclasses could be. There’s a lot of potential design space that could be opened up by changing the formula here. I personally loved the idea of the multiple class subclasses in the Strixhaven UA, but the implementation was messy because classes get subclass features at different levels.

Which got me thinking of one potential solution: let all subclasses have let’s say 5 features with certain level requirements, and then fill out classes so they have 20 levels of class features so you always get something when you level up. Then, when you hit a level with a feature from your subclass, you can take that instead of your base class feature.

All of a sudden, you can have subclasses that have multiple classes they can key off of. You can ensure backwards compatibility with 3PP subclasses (and existing official options!). You can please tables that want something simpler by allowing them to cut out subclasses entirely.

This is only one potential form things could take, but I am very curious what you all think we may see as the 1DnD playtest continues.
 

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My biggest hope is no level 1 subclasses whatsoever. I spend a chunk of my summers helping many younger kids with minimum game knowledge roll up character and so I am hyper-aware of the number of decisions the game asks a brand new player to make before they can start playing. Sorcerer and Warlock weren't so bad in the just PHB days, having few subclasses, but everytime a kid said they wanted to play a Cleric (thankfully rarely) I shuddered.
 

SakanaSensei

Adventurer
My biggest hope is no level 1 subclasses whatsoever. I spend a chunk of my summers helping many younger kids with minimum game knowledge roll up character and so I am hyper-aware of the number of decisions the game asks a brand new player to make before they can start playing. Sorcerer and Warlock weren't so bad in the just PHB days, having few subclasses, but everytime a kid said they wanted to play a Cleric (thankfully rarely) I shuddered.
As someone who has also taught middle schoolers the game, I get that. Another reason I kind of liked my general idea in the OP. Kid wants a sorcerer? The baseline, only base class sorcerer could cover bases without a decision point, but people who did want to alter the flavor a bit could pick a subclass and be dandy.
 

SakanaSensei

Adventurer
My main beefs with 5e subclasses are 1) they don't start from 1st level, which impacts things like multiclassing, and 2) different wizard "specialists" all use the same spell list.

So my biggest hope is for subclasses from level 1 and Diviners who are distinct from Evokers in a meaningful way at the table.
Yeah, Wizard subclasses, especially in the official material, feel far too same-y to me, too. Here’s to hoping they work some differences in.
 


Remathilis

Legend
I don't expect you'll see a change to the subclass general structure; they want compatibility, and they aren't going to redo Tasha and Xanathar material for a while. That said, I expect the classes themselves will get some much-needed additions and PHB subclasses get some polish like the current crop of subs have been. (IE bonus spells for sorcs and rangers, prof/day uses, etc).
 

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
Hot take to avoid frontloading the classes with too many choices at 1st level for new players:

Write the ''main'' archetype of the class as part of the main class chassis in the book, not in a different section after the class chassis. Then make archetypes who swap those class features with the ones from the new archetype.

ie: The Hunter becomes part of the base ranger chassis at level 3-7-etc
After the class write up, you have the Beastmaster archetypes, which goes like: ''A player preferring to adopt the archetype of the Beastmasters loses the X-Y-Z features of the Ranger and gain the follow A-B-C features instead.

So players who are not at-ease with making a bunch of choices just pick the base ranger, already all written in the book while a more advanced player can look at the alternative archetypes features.
 


Li Shenron

Legend
All of a sudden, you can have subclasses that have multiple classes they can key off of. You can ensure backwards compatibility with 3PP subclasses (and existing official options!).
Err... not really.

While the idea was something I would have liked back then at the beginning of 5e, changing the levels at which subclasses grant their features pretty much guarantees to break compatibility with previous supplements, which is what they claim they want to keep. All previous supplements subclasses would not work with 2024 PHB characters. If the original number of features was already 5, maybe minor adjustments could be enough, but definitely not for those classes with a different number.
 


Weiley31

Legend
I'm....I'm even not quite sure really. On one hand, I'm hoping that Classes are the next One D&D UA playtest material that arrives. On the other, maybe trying to add all the classes in, and not breaking it up, would be too much.

The ones that will be interesting, at least the ones I can't wait to check out, will be the Fighter, Warlock, and Sorcerer. Will the Fighter start integrating the Battlemaster and its Combat Maneuvers into its chassis? Will this somehow be the return of the previously favored Next Sorcerer? Will Eldritch Blast get eaten up in the void and Patrons will now have to scramble, like chickens without heads, wondering what they'll now give their favored Warlocks?

Will we somehow get Psionics? (Calm down calm down everybody, it was a joke. And a bitter one at that.)

It's kinda crazy to think what we'll start seeing from now till the end of 2023.
 

SakanaSensei

Adventurer
Err... not really.

While the idea was something I would have liked back then at the beginning of 5e, changing the levels at which subclasses grant their features pretty much guarantees to break compatibility with previous supplements, which is what they claim they want to keep. All previous supplements subclasses would not work with 2024 PHB characters. If the original number of features was already 5, maybe minor adjustments could be enough, but definitely not for those classes with a different number.
If every class had, at a baseline, something they received at every level without having a subclass at all, then you could have a subclass for, let’s say Fighter and Paladin. We’ll call it a Knight. At level 3, you can take your level three Fighter feature if you’re a Fighter, your level three Paladin feature if you’re a Paladin, or your Knight feature.

All old material would still work under that paradigm because old subclass levels would work, while simultaneously opening up new design space.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Ok, I see what you mean... to fill all levels of a base class where they normally gain a subclass feature, with a new base class feature. And to establish a rule that at each of those levels you can choose either the base class feature or the subclass feature.

That would make new things possible: (a) not have any subclass at all, (b) have a subclass only partially , (c) have features from multiple subclasses, (d) have a subclass from another class. Obviously, specific choices would need to be validated case-by-case (for instance, you couldn't choose a feature that improves a previous one that you didn't take it, and you couldn't choose something that simply doesn't work with your base class).

It's an interesting idea.
 


SakanaSensei

Adventurer
Ok, I see what you mean... to fill all levels of a base class where they normally gain a subclass feature, with a new base class feature. And to establish a rule that at each of those levels you can choose either the base class feature or the subclass feature.

That would make new things possible: (a) not have any subclass at all, (b) have a subclass only partially , (c) have features from multiple subclasses, (d) have a subclass from another class. Obviously, specific choices would need to be validated case-by-case (for instance, you couldn't choose a feature that improves a previous one that you didn't take it, and you couldn't choose something that simply doesn't work with your base class).

It's an interesting idea.
I just want to see my old material, official and not, to not get invalidated. I simultaneously hope they make some changes, like allowing all classes to be concept complete at 1.

If they don’t go the direction I’m mentioning (I doubt they will), I may have to fiddle with the idea myself once we start seeing what they’re thinking of doing.
 

Do subclasses really make characters feel different from one another? I.e., how much of the thematic specificity of a devotion/ancients/vengeance paladin comes from their specific channel divinity mechanics, and how much comes from their subclass tenets as a guide to roleplay?
 

My main beefs with 5e subclasses are 1) they don't start from 1st level, which impacts things like multiclassing, and 2) different wizard "specialists" all use the same spell list.

So my biggest hope is for subclasses from level 1 and Diviners who are distinct from Evokers in a meaningful way at the table.
I like the approach of allowing PHB wizards to treat all spells of their school as always prepared and then they can prepare an additional Int mod spells from other schools. You just have to make sure to allow divination spells from a few other sources so that divination wizards get at least 20. Divination is underrepresented between PHB, Xanathar's, and Tasha's.
 

SakanaSensei

Adventurer
Do subclasses really make characters feel different from one another? I.e., how much of the thematic specificity of a devotion/ancients/vengeance paladin comes from their specific channel divinity mechanics, and how much comes from their subclass tenets as a guide to roleplay?
I think they should feel quite different, and in some cases do. The Psi Warrior and Battlemaster feel very different from the Samurai, but most Wizard subclasses may as well come with quotation marks around their name. Part of why I posted the thread is because I think 3PP options tend to do a better job of being evocative.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
My main beefs with 5e subclasses are 1) they don't start from 1st level, which impacts things like multiclassing, and 2) different wizard "specialists" all use the same spell list.

So my biggest hope is for subclasses from level 1 and Diviners who are distinct from Evokers in a meaningful way at the table.
The wizard subclasses won't be so different because their spell list is so big. The spell list is too powerful to allow much tweaking.

Only if wizard players agree to a smaller list could more power be put into their specialists.
 

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